Mid-Week F.A.P.: State of Decay

State of Decay

Back when I was in my early twenties I had a manager that used to tell me: ‘AJ, there are two ways to get people to do what you want them to, the first is making them like you, the other is through fear’.

She was about 5 foot tall, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t fear her no matter how hungover I was and even when the entire station near where I lived flooded; I still showed up on time.

Anyway, apologies for the sheer number of game name dropping that goes on in this chapter but given how little space I give myself it it the quickest way to short hand experiences.

This week: State of Decay.

Imagine if you didn’t login to Animal Crossing for a week and when you came back, all of the inhabitants had become depressed, hungry, and so devoid of hope that they just left your town. How depressing would that be?

At face value State of Decay looks like a shoddy Dead Rising mixed with Red Dead Redemption but there is a lot more going on. The whole game is built around a series of systems that rely on your input to keep the supplies high, the zombies out of your compound, the streets set with traps, new survivors coming in, loyalties managed, mouths fed, beds built, the list goes on. At a lower level there is your character’s stamina bar to manage ( the maximum capacity decreases over time requiring you to switch to another member of the compound) and skills that upgrade in a Skyrim keep-doing-it-until-you-improve style that actually works. On top of this there is a randomised selection of side missions that can prove fatal for those involved, including you.

Permanent death is brutal as your beloved character, that you have nurtured for hours, can be taken down by taking on a mission ill-equipped or underfed.

Sure the frame rate and draw distance is a bit shit but I gladly traded that for a game that remembers exactly where I abandoned every car and the state they were in when I left them there.

To feed into that is the fear that if you don’t login every day the world will carry on without you. Due to events out of my control I could not play the game for 4 days and I came back to find the population of my camp halved and most of the surrounding neighbourhood full of infected houses.

Animal Crossing gets you to do things because you like it, this game makes you do things because you are afraid of how it might react next.

State of Decay is every Zombie movie fan’s wet dream.